Desire & Indecision

In Thoughts on September 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

The other day I heard someone inquire, “What if I say, ‘I do’ and then I meet someone at the reception?” Sounds crazy and there very well may have been some sarcasm implied, but I think it thoroughly encompasses our fear of second-guessing the decisions and commitments we make.

I can’t make decisions without knowing all of the surrounding circumstances, every other option available and what those around me are choosing to do. When I go to a restaurant I can’t decide what to order without first having heard what everyone else is ordering (particularly those whose plates I wouldn’t be too shy to sneak a bite from). My brother and father recognize this trait and find it thoroughly entertaining to withhold any hint of what they plan to order until the time comes, thereby hindering my ability to make a decision and getting great enjoyment out of my frustrated discomfort with being forced to make an “uneducated” decision. While I’d like to say my indecisive habits end with choosing a meal from a menu, this example just scratches the surface of my habitual delayed commitment.

People like myself have been termed “afraid of commitment”, which is another way of saying we can’t make up our minds. But perhaps our problem isn’t with a fear of commitment, but with our desires. Perhaps if we change what we desire, commitment wouldn’t be as daunting. We readily commit to getting what we want, whether it’s good grades, a spouse, a new pair of pants, or our next meal. We don’t hesitate to spend our time, energy, and money each day on things that we subconsciously (and consciously) commit ourselves to. Unless you’re like me and can’t even make up your mind on which hand soap to purchase, the biggest decision that often haunts you is that of what and whom one should resign themselves to love. But does it really matter whom we choose to love, as long as we love? Is the act of love what matters, or the object of our love? What are we most hesitant to commit to?

Waiting for answers to every question we posses will only bring more questions. Does knowing this make us more fearful of commitment because the object of our love isn’t fully known (or understood) or does it make us want to jump feet first into love, knowing we have questions but we’d rather gain the answers through experience than sit on the sidelines and hope to understand the game by the time we’re too old to play. Is it better to know we’ll succeed before taking a risk, or is the point of making a commitment to take the risk of not knowing whether we’ll succeed with confidence and have faith in our desire?


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